Just hours before the U.S. Senate was set to adjourn for the long August congressional recess, on July 31, the U.S. Senate adopted H.R. 5021 to fund the nation’s highway system by a vote of 81-13. H.R. 5021 is a short term, $11 billion “patch” for funding of the U.S. highway trust fund through May 2015. The trust fund would have been insolvent at the beginning of August.
The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly adopted H.R. 5021 with a vote of 367-55 on July 15. While the measure garnered bi-partisan support, House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told CQ News, “Democrats would have a preferred a longer-term deal that shored up the highway trust fund’s solvency for years to come… and many Democrats accepted the deal because there were no other viable options.” State transportation officials and transportation industry leaders have called for Congress to pass long-term legislation to ensure more certainty for highway improvement projects across the country.